Sweet - The Polydor Albums album review

Whatever happened to the teenage rampagers? This fourCD box set finds out

Cover art for Sweet - The Polydor Albums album

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It appeared the hits had dried up by the time Sweet, postChinnichap, signed to Polydor Records in 1978. Unsure whether they were committing to hard rock or keeping one foot in pop, they found the, er, sweet spot with Love Is Like Oxygen, a single edited from the baroque seven-minute album version.

Its parent album, Level Headed, which made inspired forays into strings and art-rock, was the last the band recorded with singer Brian Connolly, whose alcoholism wasn’t funny any more.

Cut Above The Rest, with Steve Priest and Andy Scott tackling vocals, again flits indecisively between styles. Yet that’s somehow the beauty of it, as on the godawful yet glorious Discophony, which declares: ‘Disco ain’t worth your masturbating/ Rock’n’roll will keep accelerating’.

By rights, Water’s Edge should be a wash-out, but their knack of making the tacky transcendent again births miracles like the harmonies on Own Up.

1982’s knowingly titled Identity Crisis really was the last knockings. Serious rock fans will consider it a minor release. For the rest of us it’s an utterly fascinating gold mine and time capsule, as a 70s giant flails to replace its frontman and enter the 80s, sometimes prat-falling, sometimes… accelerating

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.